Express & Star

Five artists chosen to transform unloved Wolverhampton underpass with their creative visions

Five artists have been chosen to regenerate an unloved Wolverhampton underpass after answering an open call for talent.

Part of the underpass at chapel Ash due to be regenerated by artists as part of the ROUNNDABOUT project

The Chapel Ash underpass is set to undergo a transformation after The Asylum Art Gallery LTD was granted funding from Arts Council England, Wolverhampton City Council, and Wolverhampton Arts and Culture - as part of Wolverhampton Council's cultural action zone and event.

An open call was put out to artists who will each have a two-month residency at Asylum Art Gallery, creating their own layers for the space, and after visitors met at Wolverhampton Art Gallery at the end of October, the five chosen artists have been named: David Checkley, Billy Haynes, Hayley Wall, Luke Reader, and Luke Perry.

Asylum Art Gallery Ltd meeting at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

At an event at Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Saturday, October 29, the director of Asylum Art Gallery Ltd, Hannah Taylor, gave an overview of the ROUNDABOUT project funded by Arts Council England before introducing the first artist, whose residency will commence the project in November: David Checkley.

David’s proposal is to use a mixture of traditional sculptural materials, such as cut steel sheets, attached to lampposts like sails or awnings which will create projected wayfaring and highlight other works in the space.

Billy Haynes then took to the stage to present his idea of ‘Common Ground’, a communal garden that will be planted with edible plants and fruit. This is to be accompanied by a geotagged soundscape that will evolve and change with the nature in the garden aided by the input of different communities.

Asylum Art Gallery Ltd meeting at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

A video detailing the work of Hayley Wall was then played to the public. It illustrated her mural proposal which will focus on co-creation with one of the community board groups, represented by bold central figures surrounded by flowers and brought to life with augmented reality.

Graphic designer Luke Reader then presented his idea to transform the Chapel Ash underpass into a well-known destination for arts, community and performance through a strong brand identity that will be echoed across the underpass alongside the other artwork.

Finally, sculptor Luke Perry presented examples of his previous public sculptures including the ‘Lions of the Great War’ war memorial in Smethwick and the SS Journey - Monument to Immigrants in Birmingham. He stressed his intention to work with the community and speak in depth with board members to create his sculptural proposal which will include four steel sculptures that represent the wishes of the Chapel Ash community.

Asylum Art Gallery Ltd meeting at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

The event ended with the artists sitting with members of the public and community board, discussing ideas and answering questions about the project. Others left feedback in the form of written notes, expressing excitement and passion for the project.

The first community celebration as part of the ROUNDABOUT project will take place in mid-January and any local performers can get in touch with their ideas in response to David Checkley’s work via email at